Great Games – The Oilers Billy Cannon Rips Up The New York Titans


On a early December day in 1961, just the second year of play in the old American Football League, the Houston Oilers came to the old Polo Grounds to play against the New York Titans.  The Titans, who would become the Jets a couple of years later, came into the game at 6-6 and the Oilers were 8-3-1.

The first quarter saw Billy Cannon haul in a 67 yard pass from future Hall of Famer George Blanda (who also kicked the extra points that day).  The Titans responded when Mel West ran one in from 21 yards out.  Blanda added a field goal before the gun and the Oilers were up 10-7.  Cannon then caught another touchdown pass to start the second quarter, this one for 15 yards and Blanda added another field goal and at halftime the score was Houston Oilers 20, New York Titans 7.

The Titans came out of the half big on the strength of a 45 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Al Dorow to receiver Don Maynard.  The Oilers answered right back with a 61 yard run for a touchdown by none other than Billy Cannon.  Going into the fourth quarter the score was 27-14 Oilers and it didn’t get any better.  Charley Hennigan hauled in a 32 yard pass from Blanda in that quarter followed by another long run for a touchdown by Cannon again.  The Titans added a touchdown on a 48 yard pass from Dorow to Art Powell, but Cannon struck back again with a two yard touchdown run before the game ended.

When it was all over, the Houston Oilers had won 48-21, sending the Titans below .500 and continuing their winning ways.

Billy Cannon had one of the best performances by any running back ever as he finished the day with 25 carries for 216 yards and three touchdowns.  He also added five receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns.  330 yards of offense and five touchdowns, not bad at all.

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